Daniel, while I'm not a commercial grower so I won't participate actively in this I applaud your initiative and courage for taking the bull by the gonads and running with it! Change only takes place when there is a champion leading the way.
Thought you might enjoy one of my favorite quotes (used to be taped to my monitor at AeroGrow)
"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries … and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it."
– Niccolo Machiavelli
That said, I'll bet that those who become involved here are credulous, rather than incredulous. That is my hope, anyway.
I wish you lots of luck in finding someone up to jumping into the governmental aspects of such things. Also some good grant writers would be good to attract. (Both of those things tend to make me very sleepy just thinking about them.)
Great Idea! Very progressive thinking!. As with any idea we pursue it's about the energy we use daily on the road we travel toward it and not the length of time it takes. If the idea is important to us, the time will not matter. If we keep our mind on the bigger picture it will happen. Ap has allowed me to dare to dream, a dream that i believe in, a dream to help me and others, a dream that will happen no matter however long it may take.Make it happen Daniel.
Daniel, your idea is very similiar to one we have had for quite some time. I must say, great minds think alike! I think we are both on the right path in thinking that commercail ap definitely needs support in the form of a facility or what we call a 'distribution hub' that would support individual small farms and collectively have more distribution weight and support facilities. The idea of a place that could provide cold storage, transport, distribution and marketing would not only pool together small farm products but help solve issues inherent for the small farmer. Already, those are things we struggle with as we operate our commercial farm.
Part of our thoughts on this is that these hubs would be spaced out every 300 or so miles. The distance for local food is generally an accepted 150 miles so the 300 mile span would work. I think your location relative to ours would have your farm supporting the same hub! Of course the challenge not only to this type of infrastructure is not only funding but in order to work, we must have farms. Lots of them! We hold farm tours, do presentations, commercial trainings and talk to people at farmer's markets constantly about this idea so we can hopefully inspire others to take up the gauntlet. So perhaps, in the meantime while you are broke, help advance this idea by just simply talking to as many as you can about it. There is relatively little cost associated with that!
Soon we will begin formulating a business plan for this type of entity and more than likely we will set it up as a NPO. We think this would be the best type of vehicle for optimal funding and operation. Lets definitely brainstorm more about how to make this a reality. Hang in there on being broke, you are very wealthy in spirit and mind. :)
I like the idea too. Setting up originally with hubs handling 150 miles in all directions sounds like a good start, but I think eventually it would be good to shrink that range a little. Using Florida as an example, a hub in Orlando would cover most of central Florida from Jacksonville to Jupiter. I suspect if I lived in Jacksonville I'd be tempted to try to stay closer to home.
Have we got a list of equipment and space needed for this? Commercial refrigeration facilites, packaging, people to package. Would the packaging be at the individual farms, and the produce brought to the distribution facility already packaged? Would this distribution hub have delivery trucks and drivers to get the produce out to the retailers or restaurants?
And if we're going to do all that, why not try to contract with a company that already has these distribution systems set up, such as Sysco or US Foodservice?